Conrad Black’s return: a Maclean’s exclusive

‘My brave sweet duck, the night is over,’ he said to Barbara Amiel

(Nathan Denette/CP images)

“My brave sweet duck, the night is over.” Those were the first words Conrad Black said to his wife after being released from serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

In an exclusive, candid five-page essay in Maclean’s this week, Barbara Amiel tells the intimate story of the arduous years the two spent apart and the tense and tumultuous countdown to his final release.

The last week of his imprisonment—not knowing his exact release date or if he could indeed settle in Canada—was its own particular kind of torture, she says, revealing for the first time the uncertainty that went down to the wire about where the former media baron would be allowed to settle.

“On May 1, I was choosing clothes for Conrad. . . I packed a suitcase to take with me: a suit if we had to go to the U.K., a jacket for Canada, lighter clothing for Bermuda, a couple of ties and underwear. Now that ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) had decreed I couldn’t meet him at the prison, I gave up on the pretty dress thing and opted for jeans comfort and getting my hair done.”

Black returned home to Toronto on May 4 after being released from prison in Miami, where he had been serving a 42-month sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice.
As Amiel writes in the Maclean’s piece, Black began to worry that the government would rescind the Temporary Resident Permit he had been granted because of the fuss caused by opposition leader Thomas Mulcair and the ensuing storm in the media that occurred in the days before his release.

“Now wound up by the emails he had received, a frantic Conrad managed to get to the prison telephone at 6:05 a.m. and called my dedicated black Samsung whose number is programmed into the prison computer. ‘I haven’t slept at all. The government will fold,’ he said. ‘They are going to withdraw my (Temporary Resident Permit). . . . ‘I’m taking my blood pressure pills but I don’t know how much more of this I can take before I have a stroke.’ I’m the drama queen in this family.,” Amiel writes. “When Conrad worries about a stroke you know he is in difficulty.”

Now at home in Toronto, Amiel writes of cooking for her husband as he regains his health and gets accustomed once more to life outside. “He hasn’t got back enough strength in his leg yet to easily walk the dogs any length of time but that will come. I had to remind him how to use a Toronto telephone and how to drive a keyless car. It’s all new.”

The full exclusive account from Barbara Amiel is in the latest issue of Maclean’s.




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Conrad Black’s return: a Maclean’s exclusive

  1. How long will it be before the pompous BS starts flowing from his mouth again.
    Remember, Lord Blob, the permit is temporary.
    Govern yourself like the foreign criminal you are !

  2. Good luck thinking I would buy this rag to read that drivel. Ship them both off to dear old blighty.

  3. Please, please ,please can we stop hearing about Amiel & Black? If I read one more supercilious word from either of these two in your magazine again, I shall cancel my subscription. WE DON’T care about your health problems; your hair loss, your weight loss, etc etc. Stop whining and just deal with the consequences of your actions.
    There are people who are truly deserving of sympathy (for example the tragic tale of the young policeman who committed suicide on the last page of your magazine)
    The Blacks are not.

    • Then don’t read about them! OMG, it’s that simple.

    • You obviously missed the entire flavor and intent of Barbara’s article in this week’s McLean’s. She talks about people like you…………….how right she was!

  4. What hardship! To our mansion in Toronto, our yatch in Bermuda, or our estate in Britain?
    I still remember fondly the Conrad Black of 1984, who saw fit to expropriate from the pension fund of Dominion employees, without consulting the pension holders themselves. Good times. Canada needs more professional capital divesters like him.

  5. “Had to go to Britian, obviously Black was thinking that the Queen might embarrass him! Bermuda? What right does he have to go to Bermuda? Is he a Citizen there

  6. Who really cares about these people?

  7. I read Conrad Black’s book, and I DO care!
    (His wife sounds totally middle class… but hey, if he loves her, let her peddle her story.)
    I wish them both good health and prosperity. His book was brilliant and a read eye-opener about the prosecutocracy of the USA. As an attorney myself, I cringed in recognition at the all-round “gee-we-tried-a-great-trial-didn’t-we-have-fun?” scene at the end of the Chicago trial.
    Something is very wrong here, and I thank Lord Black for his compelling book. May they both thrive in health and wealth until the end of their very long lives!

  8. How insulting that Ms. Amiel compares her waiting for her husband to get out of prison to that of having a child or spouse with of a “long-term danger from illnesses or injury”…guess the whole idea of sitting by a bedside in a hospital is much more romantic and acceptable scenario than stating you are the wife of a convict…..

  9. Barbara,
    I too am a senior citizen, as of this year, and have only been married to my husband for a relatively short time. Because of his work, he is away from home all but 2 days or so out of the month. So in a small way, I understand what the last nine years have meant to you.
    I don’t care about the facts surrounding your husbands case anymore. It’s over. He’s home and that’s all that matters and I pray to God that you will both have a long and happy future TOGETHER and that the press and the public will show some respect and let you live your lives in peace. By the way, nearly 40 years ago I met your husband during the course of my own work. I wanted to grow up to be just like him. lol Treasure your togetherness. It’s all we have that holds any real meaning in the twilight of our years…..

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